Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn is one of the most enigmatic characters in the history of mixed martial arts.
He entered the sport as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu prodigy, but transformed into one of the most successful fighters fans have ever seen. He captured both the UFC lightweight and welterweight titles. Penn moved on to explore fighting at various weights, even going up as high as heavyweight to fight Lyoto Machida in Japan. He returned to the UFC, regaining the lightweight title and becoming the most dominant 155-pound champion ever in the promotion.
Though he recently lost a controversial decision and his title belt to Frankie Edgar, Penn is in the midst of trying to secure a rematch.
While talks are underway, he has left the comfortable confines of his home in Hawaii to venture out on a press junket in support of his new autobiography, “Why I Fight: The Belt Is Just An Accessory,” which he wrote with author David Weintraub.
The book is Penn’s answer to fans and critics alike, “explaining what led a scrappy teenager from the rough streets of Hilo, Hawaii, onto the biggest stage in all of mixed martial arts.”
He’ll be at the Barnes & Nobel in Henderson, Nev., on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. PT to meet fans and sign copies of his book.